NEWS: Jean wins 500-metre gold & Hamelin takes silver in 1,500 metres

AUDIO (MP3): Bélanger-Marceau (Fr), Bourgela (Fr), Gilday (En), Hamelin (Fr), Jean (Fr)

NOTE: Here are the final results from the National Qualifier competition in Calgary for the 2012 Canadian Short Track Open Championship in Saguenay, Que., from Jan. 13-15. (Results: men, women)

SHANGHAI, China – On the second day of the ISU World Cup (results web site) in Shanghai, China, Canadian skaters stepped on the podium twice today. Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., won his third gold medal of the season in the 500 metres, while Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., took silver in the 1,500 metres.

Jean (41.073 seconds) beat Qiuwen Gong of China (41.516) and Daan Breeuswsma of the Netherlands (41.667) for his victory in the 500 metres. He made it through to the final after winning his quarter-final heat (41.444), and then being advanced from the semi-final (56.817) after being interfered with by Dajing Wu of China.

“I can’t be disappointed. A third consecutive victory in the 500 metres in as many times on the ice,” said Jean. “Today was a difficult one for me. I won in the face of adversity. In the semi-finals, I had some bad luck on a pass that advanced me to the final. An advancement automatically puts you in fifth spot on the start line (of the next race). A fifth spot is never an advantage, especially in the 500 metres where the start is critical. I was patient. I did a double-pass of two Chinese skaters, which enraged the hometown crowd, to take the lead at the bell (final lap).”

In a photo-finish, Hamelin was edged out at the finish line by Korea’s Jinkyu Noh by 0.057 seconds. Noh’s time of 2:09.41 set a world record in the 1,500 metres. The medal was Hamelin’s sixth of the season – three gold (500m, 1000m, 1500m) and three silver (two in 500m, 1500m).

“Saturday went really well for me. My goal was reach the final because I was disappointed with my result in the 1,500 metres last weekend,” said Hamelin. “I wanted to do better to prove what I can do at that distance. We (with Noh) were super-close at the finish line. Coming in second in a race with a world record, you can’t ask for more.”

Sunday’s races will feature the 1,000-metre and second 500-metre races, as well as the relay finals.

Canada’s skaters had the following results in their respective races:

Skating in the 1,500-metre repechage semi-finals, Montreal’s Sabrina Bourgela and Andréa Do-Duc and Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau of Loretteville, Que., did not qualify for the semi-finals. Bourgela was second (2:32.834) in her race for an overall ranking of 19th, while Do-Duc was also second (2:35.930) for 21st spot. Bélanger-Marceau was third in her heat (2:33.584) for a 23rd place finish.

In the women’s 500 metres, Kasandra Bradette of St. Félicien, Que., and Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., were second in their respective quarter-finals, 44.016 and 44.570. In the semi-finals, Truchon was eliminated after taking third place (44.388), for a ranking of sixth overall. Bradette was also third (59.680), but moved on to the final after being interfered with by Italian skater Martina Valcepina. In her first World Cup final, Bradette finished fourth (48.157) behind gold medallist Kexin Fan (43.873) and Qiuhong Liu of China and American Jessica Smith.

Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., was eliminated after a fourth place finish in the 500-metre quarter-finals. She ranked 15th overall.

Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean took ninth place in the 500 metres. After finishing third (42.033) in his quarter-final heat, he won the C final in a time of 42.481 seconds.

Michael Gilday of Yellowknife took the repechage route to qualify for the 500-metre quarter-finals. He won each of his repechage races (heat 41.977; quarter-final 42.226; semi 42.159), but was third (41.610) in this quarter-final heat. In the C final he was third (42.621) for 11th spot overall.

In the men’s 1,500 metres, both Rémi Beaulieu of Alma, Que., and Charle Cournoyer of Longueuil, Que., were third in their semi-finals (Beaulieu - 2:13.917; Cournoyer - 2:23.784) to move on to the B final. Cournoyer was third (2:17.915) for 10th place and Beaulieu was fifth (2:18.439) for 12th.

In the relay semi-finals, the men won (6:47.326) their heat to move on to Sunday’s final against China, Great Britain and Korea. Cournoyer, Gilday, Hamelin and Jean skated for Canada. The women’s team finished fourth (4:46.080) in their semi-final after a fall. They will compete in the B final. Bourgela, Bradette, Truchon and Waddell made up the women’s squad.

With today’s medals, the World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance is to $28,000 (16 gold medals, eight silver and four bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. Last season, Intact Insurance awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

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